It has been my longstanding opinion that soccer in the US will grow slowely and surely. It won't come in an explosion of marketing, but rather as generations grow older and the children who played in on the school field either continue playing the game or at least buy tickets to watch it. Watching this year's MLS season, I'm becoming convinced that we may be at a new beginning of that growth. Why do I think that? Look to the Rookies.
It seems this year a lot rookie players are already starting to make names for themselves. It's not a coincedence. A handful of top players are being pulled out of their MLS teams to train and play in the upcoming World Cup. Other vacancies are created due to injuries, that seem to be pounding a lot of MLS teams. The vacancies are providing an opportunity for newly acquired players to get out on the field and start, when they'd otherwise be on the bench. And the rookie players are stepping up to the occasion.
MLS level of play is not all that good when compared to other leagues. Games are most often slow and sloppy. I'm guessing that same style of play has been trickling down to new members as they wait on the bench and train with the existing teams. Vacancies however are getting the rookies straight from their college and other club leagues onto the MLS field. Where a lot of rookies fall apart under the pressure, a lot of these soccer players are doing extremely well. Making a lot of great plays, goals, and saves.
The fact that these guys are coming into the league and performing well, shows the training and talent coming up through the system. Which is a great sign overall for the sport here in the US. With more exciting games and better players, the league will eventually get more respect. As these young players get older and better, there is more potential to loans and ties with bigger clubs and a lot more potential overall for growth.
I know it's still very early in the process to say for sure, but this confirms my previous belief that the success and talent of the league will grow surely over time. The popularity is high among younger generations of Americans and as they grow older and some continue to play the sport into Professional leagues and yet others who just enjoy to watch the sport and support a team/league, the popularity of the sport overall in this country will raise.